There are lots of special somethings about a fair: The rides run by questionable-looking carnies, the at-times impossible to win games, the livestock shows and interesting variety of booths and expositions for people to saunter. But by far and away a favorite feature is the food, an exotic collection of culinary gestures to dazzle the tastebuds and send the heart into palpitations.
Which is why the North Dakota State Fair is pleased to announce the reprisal of last year's "Food Frenzy," a competition between vendors to concoct the most novel foodstuffs. Last year's winner was Walleye on a Stick's poutine, a Canadian pub favorite featuring french fries topped with cheese curds in brown gravy.
"We are very excited to be bringing it back," said Jennifer Hubrig, the State Fair marketing director. This year will see nine submissions from among the fair's 40 vendors. A panel of local celebrities will do the judging Friday morning at 10, with the top three placers getting enormous ribbons to affix to their cart, shack, wagon, or other place of business.
Submissions will be judged based on appearance, taste, creativity and overall appeal. All entries will be served throughout the course of the fair from July 19 to 27, and signs will let goers know where to look.
This year's entries will be:
"Caramel Turtle Funnel Cakes" by Thomsen's Root Beer
"Blazin' Chick Chips" by Quesadilla Junction
"Fresh Cut Parmesan Garlic Fries" by Trolly Cart
"Dakota Slaw Burgers & Pig Tails" by Wife's Kitchen, featuring sausage links dipped in maple batter and served on a stick
"Norske Nuggets" by B&G Concessions, which are mini knoephles and polish sausage bites served on sauerkraut
"Bacon-glazed Cinnamon Rolls" by Cini-Smiths
"Chicken Fried Steak Sandwiches" by M&S Concessions
"Bacon Battered Corndogs" by Straight's Concessions
"Beer Battered Walleye" by Walleye on a Stick
If signs and ribbons are too passe, fairgoers can pinpoint their cravings with the State Fair's new "Food Finder," available on its site at (ndstatefair.com/foodfinder/). The application allows people to search through the many available fair foods, identifying the appropriate vendor and giving its location on a map of the fairgrounds.